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Not trying to reincarnate the steel/aluminum debate (trollfest), my question is more specifically, with a freeride/playbike hardtail using a ~5" fork and fat DH tires, does the flex of a steel frame have any benefit? Is a stiff, light aluminum frame better for light FR use? (by light I don't mean XC, I'm talking Snipes 7mm, Azonic evo, etc)
 

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fsrxc said:
Not trying to reincarnate the steel/aluminum debate (trollfest), my question is more specifically, with a freeride/playbike hardtail using a ~5" fork and fat DH tires, does the flex of a steel frame have any benefit? Is a stiff, light aluminum frame better for light FR use? (by light I don't mean XC, I'm talking Snipes 7mm, Azonic evo, etc)
Nope, on freeride hardtail bikes the frames are designed to be durable. This typically means that no matter what the material is you will feel no flex out of it. Typically you can feel wheel flex more than frame flex once the rear gets beefed up.

FWIW, there seem to be a lot more choices in freeride aluminum framesets. The majority of steel frames are dj/urban specific, more like big bmx bikes. Where you have a bunch of choices in aluminum from dj/urban rigs to rides like sinister and banshee that will support 6" forks and 3" rear tires. I digress...
 

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Just preference I think. I personally like aluminum hardtails for the feel of them. I agreewith dsb1829 it seems that most steel hardtails have been designed to be mostly urban and dj specific.
 

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As has already been mentioned...

The DH/FR hardtails are really beefy so they will be stiff regardless of what they are made of. I'm currently riding an Imperial SL, it's setup as a FR trailbike and does the job really well. On the steel note: there are some interesting frames on the horizon that you might want to look at. Word from the crew at Evil (well, DW anyway) is that the Sovereign frames are in pruduction as we speak. This frame is designed for more all around riding than the Imperial was.
 
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